Ask Jon Mut, Founder of Boswell Construction, how he got into construction, you will hear a tale of construction love, lost to a Business Finance career; quickly realizing his heart was in the field, and leaving the desk to build. Fortunately through the sorted twist, a wealth of business knowledge was forged which seeded the growth of his handy-man service into what is now Boswell, a full service general contractor building the finest luxury homes in Southern California. We were recently visited by Business students from Cal State LA who sat down with Jon to discuss the back end of business and his management style of a growing firm.
What is your hiring & promoting process?
We like to take a grass roots approach to hiring. We believe in investing in employees early on and taking the time to train them and help to form the work habits that they need to grow within the company and in the industry as a whole.
How do you incentivize/ motivate your employees and help them find innovations?
We don’t really have any incentives, it’s more about environment. Innovations come through evolutions, we promote an open-mined, open-door policy and so we’re able to work collectively to understand what everyone needs to keep growing.
How do you deal with planned vs actual performance?
Taking notes on our missteps and addressing them with and as a team. It’s a constant assessment of everything that’s happening and promoting open communication between everyone.
What is the hardest part of planning?
The ever changing, evolving way the industry works. I can work on planning things out and then that night something will happen to cause a change and I’ll have to come back to the drawing board.
How do you implement your decisions to ensure people will follow?
It’s not really about making sure people are following my decisions, I like to take a democratic approach. Decisions affect each department differently; we have to evaluate the productivity of a decision to know if it works best for our team.
Do you face conflicts?
Every day. We work with so many subcontractors and vendors and in cities with strict rules and regulations, we’re bound to run into something at some point. We’ve been fined for simple things, like having 5 cars parked on the street in Beverly Hills, where the is limited to 2 per house. When you are building a 10,000 square foot home and can only transport workers and materials with two cars max, that’s a conflict and you get creative to strategize a solution. It’s daily and in the simplest aspects of business.
How do you deal with failure?
Identifying mistakes, and just keep moving and adjusting. Just being able to know when something is not working and actually calling it a failure is the first and hardest step. Dwelling on mistakes just takes away from what you could and should be doing.
What are your long term goals and what are your short term and midpoint goals to get you there?
Growth is always the ultimate goal. Long term, international builds such as London, Stockholm, Dubai. Short term, we’ve started our marketing campaign for Orange County and Santa Barbara. Our midterm I’d like to see us in places like San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Utah.
How do you manage your stress?
The gym, it’s my alone time- and the only time I don’t answer my emails or texts. In the office, I try to remind myself that there is always an end with some sort of resolution.